Facts and myths about ADHD

There are a number of common beliefs about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some of them are true – and some aren't.

ADHD is caused by my child's diet and environment.
Myth
Although the exact cause of ADHD is unclear, the symptoms of ADHD appear to be genetically based and related to an imbalance in brain chemicals.

ADHD affects boys more often than girls.
Fact
Boys are diagnosed with ADHD more often than girls. There may be an underdiagnosis in girls as girls with ADHD often show fewer behavioural symptoms.

All children with ADHD eventually "grow out of it."
Myth
It is a common myth that children will outgrow ADHD. In fact, about 80% of children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adolescence and about 50% will experience ADHD symptoms as adults.

Children with ADHD should only take their medication while in school.
Myth
ADHD is a chronic disorder. Giving medication continuously through weekends and holidays may enable the child to better control behaviour and improve socialization and self-esteem. However, the decision to continuously give ADHD medication to children should be individualized and discussed with the child's doctor.

Medications are important for treating ADHD.
Fact
Medications are important for treating ADHD, but they are not the only treatment strategy. Treatment for ADHD must also include psychological, educational, and social measures to improve symptoms. People who suffer from ADHD benefit from changes in the classroom, behaviour management strategies, and medications.

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